The Latest: Coronavirus hits world’s largest economies hard
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Coronavirus hits world’s largest economies hard in China, U.S.
— Wuhan raises number of COVID-19 deaths by 1,290.
— Trump gives governors road map for economic recovery.
— U.N. General Assembly faces Monday deadline to consider draft resolution calling for global action.
BEIJING — Bleak figures from the world’s two largest economies underscore how quickly the coronavirus is delivering a massive economic blow.
China on Friday reported GDP shrank 6.8% from a year ago in the quarter ending March, its worst contraction since before market-style economic reforms began in 1979. And in the U.S., the world’s largest economy, the ranks of the unemployed swelled toward levels last seen during the Great Depression.
Still, the economic data from China was not as bad as some had feared, prompting shares in Asia to surge. That was after Wall Street also rose, powered by buying of Amazon, health care stocks and other market niches that are thriving in the coronavirus crunch.
The recovery for workers is likely to take a long time, however. Some forecasters earlier said China might rebound as early as this month, but they have been cutting growth forecasts and pushing back recovery timelines as negative trade, retail sales and other data pile up.
The U.S. government reported 5.2 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the four-week total to 22 million — easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record. The losses translate to about 1 in 7 American workers.
BEIJING — The central Chinese city of Wuhan has raised its number of COVID-19 fatalities by 1,290, with state media saying Friday the undercount had been due to the insufficient admission capabilities at overwhelmed medical facilities at the peak of the outbreak.
Wuhan’s revised death toll of 3,869 is the most in China. Numbers of total cases in the city of 11 million were also raised by 325 to 50,333, accounting for about two-thirds of China’s total 82,367 announced cases.
Questions have long swirled around the accuracy of China’s case reporting, with Wuhan in particular going several days in January without reporting new cases or deaths. That has led to accusations that Chinese officials were seeking to minimize the impact of the outbreak and wasting opportunities to bring it under control in a shorter time.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has given governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out “a phased and deliberate approach” to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
“We’re starting our life again,” Trump said during his daily press briefing. “We’re starting rejuvenation of our economy again.”
He added, “This is a gradual process.”
The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak. And they largely reinforce plans already in the works by governors, who have primary responsibility for public health in their states.
“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors Thursday afternoon in a conference call, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”
Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly has until Monday to consider a draft resolution calling for global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed resolution obtained by The Associated Press requests Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to work with the World Health Organization and recommend options to ensure timely and equitable access to testing, medical supplies, drugs and future coronavirus vaccines for all in need, especially in developing countries.
The measure, drafted by Mexico and co-sponsored by about 75 countries, encourages all countries to work in partnership to increase research and funding for vaccines and medicine, and to strengthen international scientific cooperation to combat the coronavirus.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak